A SPECIALIST in the past - restoring heritage and listed buildings - is looking to the future after recruiting three apprentices for its bespoke painting and decorating services.

Stephen Nicholson, the managing director of Bishop Auckland firm S Nicholson & Sons said he has taken on the trio to overcome the recruitment difficulties currently affecting a variety of sectors.

The firm has always championed apprenticeships, but earlier this year it was proving hard to attract anyone into the trade.

At the time, Stephen felt attitudes were changing with young people viewing painting and decorating as outdated.

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He said: “I don’t know if it was a blip, as there were so many opportunities about following the lifting of Covid restrictions, but I’m over the moon to find three good quality apprentices willing to get their hands dirty and learn the trade.

“The main reason we use apprentices rather than recruit from other firms is that other firms don’t specialise in prestigious and listed buildings. In the long-term, it’s easier to pass on such traditional skills to an apprentice.

“I do think there are an increasing number of young people transfixed by computers who just want to work for big corporations like Amazon.

"It may appear an easier road, but they are missing out on a rewarding career and a life of variety – one day you could be working in Lord Barnard’s castle, the next a church, or Mrs Smith’s front room!

“Not only are our apprentices learning modern techniques, but we are passing on that traditional craft passed down through the generations, which is the hallmark of this business.”

The three new apprentices, recruited through New College Durham, are Jake Mitchell from Ferryhill, Jack Blenkinsopp from Spennymoor and Stephen’s son, Stephen Nicholson Jr, from Bishop Auckland.

Jack said: “I’d recommend becoming an apprentice to anyone.

"Every day, I’m working hard towards mastering new skills and it really is an interesting and worthwhile career.”


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